Call me old fashioned, but the Christmas season is still one of my favorite times of the year! Although I no longer have a hard time going to sleep on Christmas Eve, and no longer wake up at 5 in the morning to eagerly see what Santa has left me, I still believe that it is the most wonderful time of the year!
I never tire of watching the excitement of parents and their little children on Christmas morning, or the cheerful greetings of friends and family as they gather together over good food and conversation. The appearance of fresh fallen snow, the crackling logs in the fireplace and the classic movies and stories such as “It’s a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Story or A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens” reminds me and many others of the joy and hope available to us all.
As we journey through the dark nights of the Winter Solstice, a good metaphor for some of the challenges and disappointments we all experience at different times, Christmas reminds us of the love, joy and hope that is available to us all during those dark times.
As Christians all around the world celebrate the Mass of Christ, or Christmas, they are once again reminded of that hope:
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…during that time, there where shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord… Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared, praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to all.’”
This good news of joy was that Immanuel (God with us) had come into this world to help, forgive and show us the incredible love of God for all humankind, and how to live life in all of its fullness. A life full of love, joy, peace and purpose — even in the storms and darkness we all face. This is the joy and hope of the season!
Merry Christmas Federal Way and once again I leave you with this prayer from Robert Louis Stevenson.
A Christmas Prayer
“Loving Father, help us to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessings which Christ brings and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be your children and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus sake. Amen.”
Dr. Charles W. Judd (Pastor Chuck) is the lead pastor for Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit www.federal waynazarene.org.